Saturday, 28 January 2017

How to simply save R10 on Weet-Bix!

    The pricing scheme in Cape Town (or maybe whole of South Africa even?) always baffled me. I am used to a pricing scheme where there is a price reduction on higher quantities, but shopping here might not show any difference on larger quantities or have even the opposite effect.

    For example Cell-C, for many years would sell different sized data bundles but the bundles would always break down to the same price per unit (in this case MB) - this has only changed recently, so buying larger bundles today actually effects a cheaper price per unit/MB.

    Now with groceries I am seeing something similar, and every now and then I would even see the opposite pricing scheme being put in place. Meaning: the smaller the package, the lower the price per broken down unit.

    So let me explain how we saved almost R10 on buying Weet-Bix at the Shoprite in Bothasig as it was pretty obvious:


    vs.


    There were different Weet-Bix packages in the shelf, the main difference was the weight. The first picture is of the 450g box priced at R18,99 - one would assume the box with double the weight of 900g (e.g. second picture) would be at a minimum double the price, if not even slightly cheaper.
    However the math tells a different story: 2 x R18,99 = R37,98 😱

    Thats right, the 900g box is almost R10 more expensive than just getting two of the smaller 450g box which would equal to the same weight!

    I am sure this is not news to a lot of peeps, but meant as a reminder: always check & compare the prices! This can be done across different products and packaging by looking at the price per unit:


    So watch the price, sometimes less is more ✌

    (This blog post is meant as an example and the prices were accurate on the date of the picture but do not necessarily reflect current prices)

    Review: Pest Control Specialists AJ's & Sons


      Who would have known that within a week of installing a wifi dish (*cough* UniFi please do a better job securing your outdoor devices against insects! *cough*) it would already be housing a tennis ball sized wasp nest!?

      Well surely we did not know that, and the only way we can explain this is that the technician had honey on his fingers still from his breakfast 😄... Jk, apparently wasps have very random reasons to house in a place as long as its comfortable/suiting.

      Anyways, we were very lucky and happy to find the amazing pest control specialists from "AJ's & Sons" to our rescue who were also comfortable removing wasp nests - which is not always given. The communication was done via email and WhatsApp and we were able to get it done even during the festive season.

      The specialist who came along, was very friendly and happy to educate us a little about the insects and even "proudly" showed us the dead wasp nest in his hands. It amazed us quite how quick these insects can build a house.
      He was highly efficient and equipped with a portable ladder (the wifi dish was mounted on the top of a wall) he was in and out in less than an hour. He use a manual pressure pump to spray some liquid on the spot.

      We were very satisfied with their work that we requested their service just a week later for our cockroach infestation and sure enough we were impressed again.

      It is always a good sign if they use a special gel that works as a roach bait instead of gas-bombing your place. It takes up to 6 weeks for a full effect, but comes with a 9 month warranty.

      I am assuming they are using similar baits as described in the video below (which is super informative btw.), but it is made in such a way that the gel can bait roaches over a long term of many months. Also they are much more experienced, know the cockroach hot spots and can therefore work through a house very quick.




      Cons

      • absolutely none...

      Pros

      • Fast and uncomplicated communication via email & WhatsApp
      • Highly efficient worker
      • Friendly and helpful
      • Only eco friendly methods that are safe for the whole family and pets
      • Very reasonable pricing comparable to the competition
      Recommendation: 💯


      AJ's and Sons Pest Control Specialists (from Edgemead) | www | @ | 021 558 0758 | fb

      Sunday, 15 January 2017

      Review: Wireless Internet from Wibre

        Like with many things, Richwood seems to be that forgotten spot in the map thus having only very limited internet availability and options. According to some sources the next DSLAM is somewhere in Edgemead, so impossible to get any fast ADSL line over that distance.

        Ironically though, we are surrounded by live fibre routes according to Seacom and DFA (N7 and Tygerberg Valley Rd), yet the only thing available is 2Mbit "VDSL" (really Telkom?) in most of the places in Richwood - or alternatively LTE.
        But maybe this is good news - kinda forces one to break free from Telkom who have not managed to install my ADSL line after the third attempt (we took over the house where ADSL was working, so go figure).

        Seacom Fibre Availability in Richwood, Cape Town
        Seacom Fibre Availability in Richwood, Cape Town

        Fortunately Wibre came to the rescue. Don't be confused though, it is PCnetwork under the hood. PCnetwork itself offers various products, some of them marketed and branded with their own name + website, such as wibre.co.za or getfibre.co.za. There offerings are basically similar to Afrihost, from ADSL, Webhosting to Fibre connectivity.
        In addition PCnetwork plays the role of an WISP (wireless internet service provider) and can connect your house via a point-to-point WiFi dish to the Internet. This was done on our side (CPE) with an airMax Rocket M5 from Ubiquiti Networks.
        The whole process of getting Wibre starts by booking a site survey over their website. Two very friendly and competent technicians will then check the availability from your premise. If everything looks fine they will book in a second appointment to do the actual installation.

        The PCnetwork technicians - unlike Telkom - are actually pretty well trained and have a very good and broad understanding of Network installations (and always super friendly). They neaten up the cable from outside to the house with a hot glue gun and finalise the installation by configuring the router - in my case a Mikrotik Routerboard RB750.
        You will notice the installed hardware is pretty much industry standard and top notch.


        airMax Rocket M5 + Dish on the highest point of the House
        airMax Rocket M5 + Dish on the highest point of the House


        I went with the 20Mbit residential package which gives me full-speed locally (via: http://speedtest.cpt.mweb.co.za/):


        And a little over half-speed to London, UK (via http://www.speedtest.net):


        VOIP is unfortunately not offered for the residential packages, but since I did need a proper landline to make phone calls and also be available cheaply, I went with the offerings from Nexus + a VOIP to analogue converter. Both working perfectly together.

        Cons

        • It took almost a full month for the installation to be completed (from first week of December until end of December) - point given, festive season, and they had some other unrelated outages - also their installation is a little more sophisticated than connecting an existing copper line...
        • Initially I was connected to Plattekloof which unfortunately brought a lot of disconnects and packet drops (most probably due to interference), a switch to Milpark fixed all of those issues. Unfortunately during the switch of the dishes the quality of "neathing things up" dropped, so I am left with a hanging cable on my roof: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DLKzX7UNoyM/WHtDW0p6YVI/AAAAAAAAAGU/dW7S3mi_tbw3ogXqtt4C99mtGqkgqlb4wCEw/s1600/IMG_0659.jpg Update 2017-02-01: this has kindly been fixed by PCN/Wibre
        • No access to the router
        • They won't allow to setup their DNS servers directly (and add Google's Public DNS as a third fallback option), so all my DNS requests always go first via the router Update 2017: this has kindly been fixed/helped with by PCN/Wibre
        E.g. I have a feeling most of the initial hassle could have been avoided if the technicians were better prepared, did a better site survey and had all of their tools ready at all times. 

        Pros

        • Their support is very quick, so even though I do not have direct access to the router they do handle port-forwarding requests very fast and professional
        • Works on any weather, be it super windy or rainy
        • Speed and Latency are superb! E.g. VOIP, Netflix, Youtube in a larger house hold not a problem at all!
        • Most probably one of the most competent people in the ISP industry I had to deal with (please keep up that quality PCnetwork!)

        All in all I am the happiest I can be. My internet is double as fast as it would have been possible with ADSL (well 10x, since I would only be getting 2Mbit here anyways - but lets just assume the maximum would be possible), it is cheaper and more stable than LTE and I am now completely independent of Telkom.

        The only thing that might top it would be an actual fibre connection - which is not going to come anytime soon to Richwood. And even then, I'd most probably still want to keep Wibre as a backup line.

        Recommendation: 💯

        Update 2018-05-01: After being with them for a year and a half, I can still fully recommend them if fibre is not available. There have been some outages, mainly due to me being far away from the connecting point where then other signals can be interfering.
        I am being throttled however, so I seldom reach 20Mbit, but rather have a steady 10Mbit. It's still fair though given that the quality of all is pretty good (service + bandwidth) and they do have good peerings with important CDN edges locally (such as Cloudflare, Netflix, Fastly, etc.).